Okta Workflows For Customer Identity (CIAM)
December 1st, 2021

What Is Customer Identity Access Management (CIAM)?

A customer identity is a profile of a customer which includes several features. Examples of these items are name, email address, physical address, or payment details.  A profile will provide as information as required to complete an e-commerce transaction. 

Organizations must securely store and manage customer profiles. The risk of mismanagement is severe damage to their reputation. This damage can lead to a decline in the customer base; along with financial damage and legal challenges to follow. 

In addition to Okta’s excellent solutions when it comes to managing Workforce employee identities, Okta offers a cloud-based software service or Identity as a Service (IDaaS), that allows for the secure management of customer identities.  

This article will discuss Okta’s Workflows product. With it, you can secure your customer identities and automate key business processes. Implementation of Workflows will drive customer retention and growth.

Okta’s Workflows product also holds recognition as part of a best-in-class product suite, and was recently named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Access Management for the fifth consecutive year.

Workflows is just one example of the software services on offer to manage Workforce and Customer identity. Follow the link to learn more about Okta’s Customer Identity product range and current CIAM trends.

What Are Okta Workflows?

Okta Workflows is a no-code product for process automation. No-code means that administrators without a development background can set up Workflows within the Okta Administrator console. Okta has nicknamed the Workflows set up process as ‘flowgramming.’ The great news is, anyone can become a ‘flowgrammer,’ which means you do not have to hire developers with extensive coding skills to create automated processes. Employees who are intimately familiar with the business and already have ideas about ways for improving internal processes can create and manage Workflows.

Low-code/no-code automation can create powerful opportunities for change within your organization. Businesses can take control, and significantly shorten timelines for change implementation due to moving away from IT based processes. Okta’s Workflows interface has an intuitive design, making it easy to use and understand.

How Does Workflows Work?

Step 1: Create connectors to applications

Okta’s Workflows is API-Driven based on Restful APIs. Typically, developers would be more likely to work with APIs directly. To make the product ‘no code,’ applications like Salesforce, as an example, have been requested to develop ‘connectors.’ These are API Endpoints created in advance and packaged for use within Okta. In the Okta Admin console, flowgrammers only need to worry about which pre-integrated third-party application to pick to start setting up and automating with Workflows.

Step 2: Create Events

Events are the starting point or trigger for a Workflow. Different types of events are available to customize your Workflow:

  • Application Events: this type of event is triggered by an occurrence in the integrated cloud application, for example, a new user registration for your online product or service.
  • Scheduled Events: it's possible to schedule future events to run on the times and days of your choice
  • On-Demand Events: trigger an event on an ad-hoc basis

You have the flexibility to choose from many different event types covering all scenarios.

Step 3: Create Actions

You’ll then need to decide what actions to take after an event has occurred. Activities can range from sending notifications, transforming data, or updating user data in multiple systems to give a couple of examples.

Pre-built application connectors also offer templates with proprietary actions based on everyday use cases and functionality per application. Alternatively, you can create a custom, step-by-step sequence of steps tailored to your use case.

  • Application Actions: this type of action can change or update applications you use, for example, sending a customer a message or updating a record.
  • Function Actions: can transform data within your flow with mathematical operations and set your flow’s path based on conditional logic. All functions available in a regular calculator are also available in workflows. It’s also possible to transform date and currency formats.

Step 4: Testing

The best practice is to test each section of the flow before moving on to the next step. Workflows makes this easy with the ability to test as you go, with informative test results. Okta provides documentation and how-to videos on how to set up robust test processes. 

Workflows Tailored To CIAM Use Cases

When Okta initially launched its Workflows product, the design was for Workforce. In 2021, Okta expanded Workflows to cover CIAM use cases and customer identity-focused applications. 

Since the launch of Workflows, Okta has also increased the number of pre-built templates called ‘Flowpacks.’ Flowpacks are easy to access templates vetted by Okta experts, with a video tutorial and documentation included for ease of use. It's also possible to collaborate and share flows with fellow Flowgrammers on the Workflows Template platform.

How Workflows Can Automate Customer Identity For Your Business

Authentication: Streamline Registration, Identity Creation, And Identity Proofing

Create a custom registration or sign-in flow for your customers. Actions can lead your customers through a series of steps that you have the power to plan, design, and implement.

You can include additional applications and services to the registration and sign-in flow. For example, you can prompt a customer with GDPR data privacy information and request consent through a third-party provider like OneTrust. Once selected, this information can kick off other Workflows, such as storing customer consent preferences, informing data analytics, and sending the customer email notification.

Authorization: Permission And Revoke Access In Real-Time

You can set up Workflows to authorize the correct user to the right resources. 

You can build custom authorization flows using OAuth protocols, which allow for instant provisioning and deprovisioning on a real-time basis. You can also achieve this at a fine-grained level.

Nurture And Grow Your Customer Base

This example of a new customer flow highlights the possibilities for automation. You can trigger a real-time set of events when a new customer confirms interest in your product or service. As a result, you can nurture the new customer when their interest in your organization is at its peak.

Other Examples Of Automation Use Cases For Customer Applications Are:

  • Create custom flows for customer identities tailored to your business, share customer identifiable information with the applications you use instantly
  • Send customers end-to-end notifications and inform the correct people in your business when an action is pending
  • Create real-time, lightweight reporting
  • Replace code owned and managed by IT, for example, data transformation or filtering, with Workflows

How Can Okta’s Workflows Product Benefit Your Business Today?

Today, all organizations face the challenge of doing more with less, which includes protecting the business against cyber-attacks, securing employee and customer identities, tracking and managing all entitlements, and more. In addition, customers expect more functionality quickly and with minimum inconvenience.

Workflows can also create agility within your business, reducing the burden on IT and therefore costs. Control of processes can be brought to the business SMEs, without the need to compromise on risk management. In fact, by reducing manual steps within your business, your exposure to risks caused by manual error also decreases.

Existing Okta Customers Can Try Workflows For Free

Okta is offering existing customers the chance to see the power of Workflows for themselves with five free Workflows per customer, starting in Q4 2021.

Squareball As An Official Okta Partner

Are you interested in Workflows, but aren’t sure where to start?

Squareball can offer both consultancy and implementation services, drawing on years of experience with the Okta product suite, along with product engineering and development experience across multiple industries. We can also provide an interactive demo and advice on best practices when it comes to implementing Workflows.

For further information or a free consultation, don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] or fill in the contact form on our site.

Check out our other articles like How Customer IAM (CIAM) can enable Digitalization and Customer Engagement.